Thursday Sports Entertainment News Report 03.14.13
Posted by Sean Kelly on 03.14.2013
News and thoughts about concern internally in WWE over the Jack Swagger/Alberto Del Rio feud, Chris Jericho discussing why he didn't sign with WWE, the company trying to re-sign former Divas and more!
Greetings, folks, and welcome to another edition of Thursday Sports Entertainment! Took Awesome Ladybug Girl and her cousin to see Jack the Giant Slayer this past weekend. It's a pretty good movie. Not great, but good and the kids loved it. My favorite part was Awesome Ladybug Girl's reaction to the more violent aspects of the movie. While other kids were visibly cringing in concern, ALG was laughing her little ass off at giants getting their butts whipped. Does exposure to pro wrestling desensitize kids to violence? After seeing this movie with my daughter, I'm inclined to think so. And so what? Kids these days are sissies and their parents are even bigger sissies. Sissies! The lot of ‘em! They could use some toughening up, I say!
WORLD (WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT) NEWS TONIGHT
I'm going to start off the news this week with two stories that are (kind of) linked, in my opinion. Better yet, they're TNA-related stories, which is as rare in these parts as a satisfied woman in Dolph Ziggler's bedroom! Here's the first:
Chris Jericho recently spoke with Konnan on the MLW podcast about his WWE return and more. Check out the highlights:
In why he didn't sign with TNA: "The main reason is that I always wanted to work for Vince McMahon ever since I was a kid. I've never worked for anybody else since I stepped through the doors in August of 1999 and I never will work for anyone else. I don't want to go to Japan. I don't want to go to Mexico for shots. I don't want to go work in TNA. I'm a WWE guy. That's the way it's always going to be. I'm sure TNA is a great company to work for. I'm sure you can do really well there or make some great money or whatever. It doesn't matter to me. I work for the big leagues. There's no reason for me to go anywhere else."
And here's the second:
Red Eye Chicago recently interviewed TNA star Christopher Daniels and he spoke about creating brand awareness in order for TNA to compete with WWE:
"Well I think a lot of it has to do with just awareness of the brand, like you said. So many people, especially lapsed wrestling fans from the boom back in the late 90's - early 2000's, a lot of wrestling fans sort of went away. And they aren't really aware that there is another brand now, now that WCW closed and ECW closed. A lot of people went away right after that, and they're not really aware that there's another brand out, other than the WWE, just sort of enjoy professional wrestling.
And the truth of the matter is sometimes it's hard to be different from the WWE when you're trying to gain those same viewers. Sometimes there's a tendency to sort of follow in the footsteps of the WWE. And so it's sort of a fine line where you want to be recognizable as professional wrestling but you also want to set yourself apart from what some people consider the standard of professional wrestling, which is the WWE.
I can't fault Jericho for his line of thinking. Clearly - Jericho's priority is building the Jericho brand and getting the most exposure possible. Let's face it, WWE is the only wrestling promotion that can offer such exposure and going to TNA would be a huge step down for him. If you want people to learn about Fozzy or Robot Combat League, WWE is the best place to promote it. Even Daniels backs up this notion - TNA simply doesn't have the brand awareness that someone like Jericho would need to consider jumping ship.
Here's the underlying problem with TNA - in trying too hard to be like WWE they are actually winding up like WCW. WCW was considered the 2nd rate promotion behind WWE for a long time (at least to us Yankees), and they only gained mainstream attention when they built their promotion around former WWE guys. WCW brought in Hall, Nash, Hogan, Savage, Piper, Warrior, etc. all in an attempt to a) ruin WWE's main event scene and b) entice the fans devoted to those performers to watch WCW programming. TNA is kind of doing the same thing, except they are raiding the WWE midcard and masquerading them as main eventers. Bully Ray, RVD, Mr. Anderson, Kurt Angle (sort of), Jeff Hardy, etc. simply don't have the built-in star power steal eyeballs away from WWE. TNA is missing the vital ingredient that WCW had then they nearly brought down McMahon - Ted Turner's wallet.
In my opinion, for TNA to succeed, they need to present themselves as an alternative to WWE. After all, why would I watch a WWE wannabe when I can just watch the real thing? Additionally, being an "alternative to WWE" doesn't just apply to the fans' perspective, it applies to the wrestlers' perspective as well.
For years, TNA talent has touted that working for TNA is much better because you have a set schedule and the grind of the road is all but eliminated. If you got hired by TNA, you had a planned commute a few days a month, and if you chose to live in Florida, you paid a lot less in taxes as well! The lack of travel and the potential tax savings, one could argue, are worth the cut in pay that a Superstar would take when they jumped ship from WWE to TNA. And it would make sense to a lot of people. For example, if I were a WWE Superstar with young kids, would I want to be away from them 300 days a year with WWE or only a handful of days with TNA? Having my job based in a freaking amusement park would be icing on the cake.
But that's gone now. There is no more Impact Zone. With TNA adopting a road-based strategy, the talent is essentially working a WWE-style schedule for a lot less pay than their WWE counterparts. I believe that Hulk Hogan is correct in saying that if TNA wants to grow they should get on the road, but the flipside of such a strategy is that the talent has one major reason not to stick around anymore.
I'm not saying "TNA sucks! WWE rules!" I think having two major promotions is a good thing. I'm more curious to see how the unintended consequences of going on the road will factor into the future decisions of TNA's top talent. TNA surpassing WWE in success should be a by product of executing a comprehensive strategy, not the end goal itself.
As reported earlier, Diamond Dallas Page is attempting to raise $80,000 for Scott Hall in order to pay for his hip replacement surgery, physical therapy, dental work and his other medical expenses. DDP says that, similar to Jake Roberts has, he believes that Hall's health can improve and has promised to manage any donated money.
This has me torn. The good guy in me thinks that this is something of a noble effort. If Scott Hall is sincerely making an effort to get (and stay) clean, and this hip surgery is a requirement for that, then I want him to get the treatment.
However, there's a part of me that thinks "Wait. This guy made more in one year than most people will make in their entire lives. Where does he get the nerve to ask for a handout? If he blew through all his savings, then where are his wealthy buddies that could pay for 100 hip replacements?" HHH probably makes $80,000 in a week, and that's not counting the value of his WWE stock. Let him pick up the tab!
But, ultimately, no one is forcing me to donate to Scott Hall, so it's really up to the individual. I hope Hall gets the help he needs, but it won't be coming from me. I'd rather give my money to Sloan Kettering, which did an outstanding job of saving the life of someone very dear to me, than to a washed up wrestler who blew a dozen chances at rehab.
Following the return of the Bella Twins, it has been confirmed that WWE has reached out to several other women who have departed the company in recent years. At this time, there is no word on who has been contacted, but it's been said that WWE has offered the former Divas more money than they were previously making. WWE realizes that the Divas division is in bad shape, and while there was talk of bringing up several NXT Divas, the company decided to reach out to Divas who have departed the company.
I think that re-building the Diva's division is long overdue. I'm glad they are doing it. When done properly, a strong Diva's division makes a solid contribution to a wrestling card.
Here's who I'm hoping they'll bring back. These aren't predictions, they're a wishlist:
Knowing WWE, here's who they'll probably bring back:
Maybe they'll snag a few TNA refugees, too. Didn't a boatload of Knockouts leave recently? Whatever. As long as the strategy is to bring in former Divas to build up new ones, I'm on board. If it's a matter of sticking familiar faces out there only to have them leave again, then what's the point?
There was talk backstage at Raw last night that Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter's feud with Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez is not going as well as they had hoped. The goal of the angle was to further solidify Del Rio as a top babyface as well as the top Hispanic talent in the company. Unfortunately the company has not been happy with the mixed results.
Word is that Vince McMahon has been strongly behind Swagger & Colter's gimmick, and the duo are getting strong heel heat at live events.
I like the Jack Swagger/ Ann Zeb Coulter gimmick. It's timely and is just the right angle to use when trying to antagonize a babyface, Latino champion. I don't think that the problem lies on the heel side. Zeb has been an extraordinarily effective heel mouthpiece for Swagger, and Swagger has brought it in the ring. As far as talking goes, all Swagger has to do is say "We! The people!" and fortunately for him there isn't a letter "s" anywhere in sight.
No, I think the problem lies on the babyface side, namely, with Alberto Del Rio. I think he's come a long way as a babyface, but his promo skills need improvement, pronto. For a man who's supposed to be defending an entire race of people, he doesn't seem too passionate about Colter's inflammatory remarks. He comes across as mildly annoyed, and only hurt himself with his miserable performance in the parody sketch on RAW.
I'm also finding that Ricardo Rodriguez is a more effective babyface than Alberto, and that's a problem. When the two biggest breakouts in a World title WRESTLEMANIA-LEVEL feud are a 63 year old manager and a sidekick ring announcer, we have problems, people. If someone is insulting my heritage, calling my loved ones criminals, I'm not taking the Sheamus, happy-go-lucky, mocking, nothing-bothers-me approach as my response. Let's see some FIRE, Alberto! Bring the fuego!
Last night's edition of the Highlight Reel on Raw did not go well, and WWE let the fans at home know it as Michel Cole and Jerry Lawler buried the segment. On air, Cole and Lawler were heard laughing, stating how bad the segment was and asking when it would end so they could go to commercial
This was a case of Vince McMahon telling Cole and Lawler what to say through the headsets. When segments fall flat on TV, and the audience doesn't respond, Vince has been known to bury the segment and those involved on air.
Word is that Brad Maddox is the one that will most likely take the majority of the heat, as it was his part of the segment that most felt got awkward and embarrassing.
I dunno, it was pretty freaking bad long before Maddox arrived. Actually, when he walked out I distinctly remember thinking "Oh thank God, maybe he'll end this abomination."
Anyone else notice that the two most awkward segments in the last month both involved the Miz? Somehow, he's been able to make Ric Flair AND Chris Jericho boring. This idea was terrible from the get-go. I like to think that the following exchange occurred at the writers' table:
Head Writer: "Okay, so we'll have Chris Jericho do the Highlight Reel."
Lowly Writer: "Who's his guest?"
Head Writer: "The Miz."
Lowly Writer: "To promote the Marine 3?"
Head Writer: "Bingo. Jericho can say how awesome the movie is. Really lay it on thick."
Lowly Writer: "But the movie is terrible."
Head Writer: "We'll play a clip."
Lowly Writer: "To show that the movie's terrible?"
Head Writer: "Then Barrett will come out and say Dead Man Down is better."
Lowly Writer: "But it's not."
Head Writer: "Then he can show a clip."
Lowly Writer: "Will he be in it?"
Head Writer: "If you squint maybe you'll see him."
Lowly Writer: "Oh, I see where you're going. Now Sheamus will come out because he's been making fun of Barrett for weeks."
Head Writer: "No."
Lowly Writer: "Wait, then what happens? Does the Miz take exception and challenge Barrett in a battle of the movie stars?"
Head Writer: "No."
Lowly Writer: "Bo Dallas?"
Head Writer: "Who?"
Lowly Writer: "Never mind."
Head Writer: "Next, Jericho will get angry for some reason and challenge Barrett."
Lowly Writer: "So we're doing a Barrett/Jericho feud?"
Head Writer: "No. Brad Maddox will come out and make a match between Chris Jericho and The Miz."
Lowly Writer: "So now Jericho and Miz are fighting? Who wins?"
Head Writer: "No one. It's a no contest."
Lowly Writer: "Okay, let me get this straight. We'll promote two terrible movies by showing two terrible clips, Jericho and Miz will be mad at Barrett for some reason but fight each other with no winner, we'll completely forget about Sheamus and Bo Dallas, all while dragging it out as long as possible?"
Head Writer: "In a nutshell."
Lowly Writer: "Great. I'll have pages for you by morning."
Head Writer: "Oh, and if Vince doesn't like the segment he'll have Cole and Lawler shit all over it in a very public fashion. No pressure."
Lowly Writer: "That's okay. If it sucks we'll…I dunno…blame Brad Maddox?"
YOU'RE IN FOR A REAL TWEET
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